LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s advertising watchdog criticized Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana Wednesday for a campaign showing models brandishing knives.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry regulator, upheld more than 150 complaints from people concerned that the stylized pictures glorified and condoned violent crime.
One of the two adverts, which appeared in the Times newspaper, showed two men threatening a man in a chair while another lay on the floor with a head wound.
It was printed last October next to an article about knife crime. There is widespread concern over the level of violent assaults in Britain.
A second advertisement in the Daily Telegraph newspaper featured two men supporting a wounded woman holding a knife.
The fashion label said the adverts, which appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, were heavily stylized and were meant to mimic early 19th century art.
The pictures were designed to evoke the Napoleonic period of art, “emphasizing the theatrical effects of that genre.”
In a written ruling, the ASA acknowledged the stylized nature of the pictures, but said they could still cause “serious or widespread offence.”
“The ad could be seen as condoning and glorifying knife-related violence,” the ASA said of the Times advert. “It was irresponsible.”
“We reminded D&G of its duty to prepare ads with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.”
Dolce & Gabbana said the adverts drew no complaints when they were published in China, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.
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